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Sightseeing, dining, shopping – whatever you relish, Shanghai has you more than covered. Read on as we list the best of the best in all three categories… 

“You can’t truly say you’ve been to Shanghai until you’ve walked the Bund at dusk, its most famed and romantic hour”

A few days in Shanghai will give you a taste of the city, but to truly capture its essence we recommend staying a week.

GETTING THERE: China Eastern Airlines is one of the major carriers that flies to Shanghai from Australia. Book at: oa.ceair.com

SIGHTS
Sightseeing in Shanghai is unlike anywhere else. Few other Asian cities manage to juggle such a cutting-edge, steely-shiny newness with meaty, tangible history and longevity. But within a single day in this Chinese metropolis you can stride centuries…

THE BUND
Shanghai’s iconic stretch of waterfront, The Bund, is pure glamour. Skirting the winding Huangpu River, The Bund has an old-world European vibe rooted in its past as a booming financial hub during the early 20th century. Spired, boxy Art Deco buildings vie with creamy, columned Classical structures and stern Gothic numbers. These riverside buildings make up an architectural assortment that is as atmospheric as it is captivating, especially at night when their stone frontages are bathed in the golden glow of city lights. Just walking along the 1,700-metre riverside walkway here is a pleasure, as this is the place to see and be seen in Shanghai. Spot families out for an after-dinner stroll; see swish couples darting off to one of the rooftop cocktail bars that flourish along the old buildings’ tops. You can’t truly say you’ve been to Shanghai until you’ve walked the Bund at dusk, its most famed and romantic hour.
ORIENTAL PEARL RADIO & TV TOWER

It’s a happy accident that from one of Shanghai’s oldest and most iconic sights you can see its modern-day counterpart. Across the water in space-agey Pudong, the futuristic business district, the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower glows like a duo of robotic cherries skewered for a summer picnic. With its tripod-like base and spire reaching up 468 metres into the sky, it’s an unmistakable, one-of-a-kind symbol of China’s technological progress. Built in 1995, the Pearl Tower is the fifth highest tower in the world. It’s said to represent a set of large and small pearls “dropping onto a jade plate” (that is, the grassy foot at its base), but whether you see pearls or cherries, it’s a must-do both inside and out. You can hop in the doubledecker elevators for a zooming ascent to the lower sphere’s sightseeing hall, from which you can see all the way to the Yangtze River. But this tower is more than some rooms with a view: it also contains a “space city,” full of futuristic science and technology, as well as a hotel, shops and restaurants. 

Address: 1 Century Ave, Pudong
Website: orientalpearltower.com

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
An all access pass to the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower will cost AUD $66 (approx.).

SHANGHAI WORLD FINANCIAL CENTRE

Fashioned like a giant beer-bottle opener reaching upwards into the clouds, the Shanghai World Financial Centre is practically a city in itself. At its base, there are restaurants, cafes and shops; from shoe boutiques to rainbow-macaron-stuffed bakeries. From its 79th to 93rd floors, the spectacular Park Hyatt Shanghai shimmers, its entire lobby and cocktail bar yawning out to a spectacular cityscape carpeted below. The pinnacle? The 474-metre-high observation deck on the 100th floor. Tucked at the bottle opener’s mouth, it’s the highest deck in the world.
Address: 100 Century Ave, Pudong
Website: swfc-shanghai.com

SHANGHAI TOWER

Not had enough of tall buildings? The brand new Shanghai Tower, completed at the end of 2015, has changed the face of high-rise life in this Chinese city. Twisting up into the air at burgeoning financial district Lujiazui, at 632 metres tall it is China’s largest building and the second-largest in the entire world. It began to welcome visitors in 2016, and you can shoot 119 floors up in just 55 seconds to the highest observation deck on the planet. It just goes to show that whatever you’ve already seen and done in Shanghai, there’s always something new.
Address: 1 Yincheng Middle Rd, Lujiazui Residential District, Pudong

FRENCH CONCESSION
In stark contrast to the mirrored skyscrapers of Pudong and the steely new shopping districts of the city centre, Shanghai’s Former French Concession dates from an older, more romantic time. Tree-lined avenues, their wide boulevards canopied with green, evoke images of the city from the days before it pulsated with neon lights. European-style buildings, trendy boutiques, art galleries and restaurants spill onto the walkways of picture-perfect Huaihai Road, Changle Road and Xinle Road. Wander through serene, green Fuxing Park, where among the bounteous trees and wrought-iron period park detailing you’ll find tai chi devotees at work in the early morning hours. On Wukang Lu, duck into quaint outdoor cafes or wine bars, and don’t miss the Sylvan streets, where you can take in some of Shanghai’s grandest period architecture – many of these leafframed, spacious Art Deco homes drip atmospherically with faded grandeur.
YU GARDEN

Find an older side of the city still at Yu Garden, a famed classical green space located in Anren Jie. It was first finished back in 1577 by a government officer of the Ming dynasty, and though its 20,000 square metres have since undergone various restorations, it has lost none of its charm. If you dream of exploring ancient China at its most beautiful, this is the place to come. A pondlike waterway is straddled by a red-washed wood pavilion, complete with up-swinging, curved-tiled roofs. Elsewhere, an epic, towering rockery rises to 14 metres above the garden and provides a charming view.

Ticket prices start from AUD $7 (approx.).
Address: 218 Anren St, Huangpu 

DISNEYLAND RESORT

In 2016, a brand new Disneyland Resort opened its magical doors to Shanghai, becoming the sixth park in the world and the first in mainland China. It’s absolutely dreamy, boasting the largest Disney castle ever – the pink and blue Enchanted Storybook Castle reaches a Cinderella-worthy 60 metres tall. And the theme park has a unique local flair you won’t find in any other Disneyland; a special new Gardens of Imagination zone features Chinese zodiac symbols, while fans of Pirates of the Caribbean can make their way to the all-new Treasure Cove, the first pirate-themed park. Stay the night on-site at Shanghai Disneyland Hotel or the Toy Story Hotel, and you can be fully immersed in the world of your children’s favourite films.
Website: shanghaidisneyresort.com/en 

IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME…

1. Jin Mao Tower
An 88-storey building with dizzying city views

2. Shanghai Museum
Filled to the brim with ancient Chinese art 

3. Longhua Temple
The largest temple in Shanghai 

4. City God Temple of Shanghai
A folk temple located in the old city

5. Jade Buddha Temple
A Buddhist temple in the heart of the new city 

EATS
From fluffy steamed dumplings stuffed with juicy minced pork, to flaky, creamy French mille-feuille piled high in perfect pastry towers, there’s no denying that Shanghai is a city for food-lovers… 

HAKKASAN

The elite of Shanghai restaurants wouldn’t look (or taste) out of place in the fickle food scenes of New York, London or Paris. Take slick, chic Hakkasan, the local outpost of the internationally acclaimed Cantonese restaurant. Its Shanghai location is perched by the banks of the Huangpu River in Pudong. You can drain lycheeinfused cocktails in the Ling Ling lounge, overlooking that picture-worthy view, then retire to the dark-and-sultry lattice-woodout framed dining room to devour the finest in modern Chinese cuisine. Between the jasmine tea-smoked wagyu tenderloin or the cod with champagne and Chinese honey, you’ll wish you had a second stomach.

Address: Bund 18, 5/F 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu Shanghai 
Website: hakkasan.com

FU 1088

Meanwhile, in stark but sumptuous comparison to Hakkasan’s ultra-modern interiors, at Fu 1088 you’ll feel transported back to the days of Shanghai colonial glam. Set in a 1920s Spanish-inspired mansion in Jing’an, every one of the starburst-tiled and dark-wood-trimmed rooms is private, so whether you’re a romancing couple or a carousing group of 20, you’ll feel as though you’ve got the place to yourself. Which is all the better for messily downing top versions of traditional dishes such as a sticky, sweet red-braised pork belly or more modern twists such as pork ribs in cocoa sauce.
Address: 375 Zhenning Rd, Changning 

ULTRAVIOLET

You won’t find even a whiff of the ‘traditional’ at Ultraviolet, an uber-forwardthinking restaurant by French chef Paul Pairet. A dinner here is just as much about getting a once-in-a-lifetime experience as it is about chowing down. Consisting of a single table of just 10 seats, you’ll work your way through 20 wacky courses in a dining room wrapped in screens and speakers. With each gourmet course comes a new atmosphere. One moment you might be dining with Shanghai’s city skyline wrapped around you, the sounds of the city below; the next you’re in a tranquil forest. It’s so enthralling you’d almost not even care what was on your plate – if it wasn’t all so delicious.
Website: uvbypp.cc 

DID YOU KNOW? Ultraviolet is the first restaurant of its kind, trying to combine food with multisensory technology.

MR & MRS BUND

Just as Shanghai manages to straddle the realms of old-school glam and new-world style, so does Mr & Mrs Bund. Named for its location on the banks of the chiselled, historic Bund, it’s one part Louis XVI elegance, one part Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter, with a slice of modern chic. And its food, also by French chef Paul Pairet, sparkles with a distinct French style, proving this city doesn’t just do great high-end Chinese, but also global cuisine. Choose from dozens of scrummy Gallic dishes including riffs on traditional sole meunière and tarte tatin. There are 32 wines by the glass – and when you’ve got that intoxicating Bund view to drink up as well, it all tastes even better. Address: Bund 18, 6/F, 18 Zhongshan Dong Yi Lu, Shanghai
Website: mmbund.com 

WHAT TO EAT? There’s plenty of choice at Mr & Mrs Bund, with 230 items on the menu, mainly French inspired.

SHANGHAI HAIDILAO HOT POT

The gourmet restaurants in Shanghai may be world-class, but the good eats in this city aren’t reserved exclusively for the blowout meals. Find authentic Shanghainese and other Chinese cuisines at their best in the city’s casual hotspots. Sizzling Sichuan hot pot – a spicy, savoury broth brimming with marbled red beef slices, crunchy fresh vegetables or homemade tofu – is the main event at Shanghai Haidilao Hot Pot, which has multiple locations throughout the city with funky, moody red and black interiors.
Website: haidilao.com 

JIA JIA TANG BAO

Try the best-ever versions of xiao long bao, the slurpy, unctuous Shanghai steamed soup dumplings, in strippedback Jia Jia Tang Bao. The interior might look just basic white-washed, but these juicy, delicately wrapped parcels draw in hungry masses from far and wide, so it’s perpetually busy. And as the buns can run out before day’s end, get there early.
Address: 90 Huanghe Rd, Huangpu 

SHANGHAI DISHUIDONG

The sour-spicy food of Hunan is some of China’s finest. It features the likes of suan dou jiao (beans with hot peppers) and spare ribs. The place to try it, which strikes the perfect balance between casual and cool, is ShangHai DiShuiDong. Its laid-back, chequered-tablecloth decor feels a bit like your Chinese grandmother’s house, and is just the perfect place to nibble through plates of spicy “BangBang” chicken, doujiao yutou (fish head steamed with red chilli) and ziran paigu (cumin ribs).
Address: 2/F, 56 Maoming Nan Lu, Huangpu 

STREET EATS
For food fiends, some of Shanghai’s most exciting bites come from the street. To find the most authentic snacks, hit the markets: you’re bound to find the essential, doughy, white and fluffy Nanxiang xiao long bao, a steamed bun filled with juicy minced pork. Meanwhile, the same soup buns popular at Jia Jia can be found at stalls, where you can slurp out their meaty liquid centres from their dough shells. One thing’s for certain: whatever it is you’re looking for, you definitely won’t go hungry in this city.

FIVE DISHES TO TRY…

1. Hakkasan: Crispy duck with Superior caviar
2. FU 1088: Fu’s drunken chicken
3. Mr & Mrs Bund: Escargot garlic parsley
4. Shanghai Haidilao Hot Pot: Sizzling Sichuan hot pot
5. Jia Jia Tang Bo: Traditional xiao long bao

SHOPPING
Lusting after a designer handbag? Or a delicate, embroidered silk scarf? How about handmade leather shoes? Whatever it is you’re in the market for, chances are you’ll be able to buy it in Shanghai… 

NANJING ROAD

“Nanjing Road is like a pulsating vein of neon life cutting through the city”

Whether or not you’re a pro shopper, a visit to Nanjing Road is a Shanghai essential. Like a pulsating vein of neon life cutting through the city, this is Shanghai’s busiest street – and at five kilometres of pedestrianised shopping bliss, perhaps its most enthralling too. Stroll the full breadth from Nanjing Road East to Nanjing Road West and you’ll get a potted history of Shanghai shopping: in the East, where the road intersects with the iconic Bund, you’ll find some of the city’s oldest and grandest department stores and shops. Stop off at Laojiefu, known as the place for wool and silk, and early 19th-century pharmacy Cai Tong De, where you can stock up on traditional Chinese medicinal herbs such as ginseng or white fungus. Pop into historic Lao Da Fang to buy fresh 3D-lattice-like pork moon cakes made to an ancient recipe, or historic The Old Phoenixes, where in the original shop, dating to 1848, you can drape yourself in gold and silver jewellery. Whichever end of Nanjing Road at which you shop, be sure to return again at night, when Shanghai’s main spending drag is aglow in neon hues and golden spotlights.
Address: Nanjing Rd, Pedestrian St, Huangpu 

XINTIANDI
If Nanjing Road personifies the bustling side of Shanghai, chic Xintiandi is the calmer, quieter, more old-world alternative. It’s filled with grey-bricked and red-trimmed Shikumen buildings constructed from the mid-1800s onwards in atmospheric, narrow alleyways. If it wasn’t for all the hip shops and restaurants, you’d swear you were transported straight back to the Victorian era. High-end boutiques and galleries cluttering this pedestrianised district cater to very modern tastes. And this is the district to come to chow down on international cuisine, whether it’s French, Italian or German. It’s easy for an entire afternoon to slip away while you laze at tables under umbrellas; even easier for an evening to disappear as you soak up caipirinhas and Brazilian samba at a local drinking hole, with the residents of this upmarket neighbourhood by your side. Be sure to factor in plenty of time to stock up on the latest fashions in this “New Heaven and Earth” (the literal translation of Xintiandi). The likes of Xintiandi Style Mall pair Asian labels such as Uma Wang with international ones like Calvin Klein.
PEOPLE'S SQUARE
When it comes to shopping, do you need endless choice? Then look no further than People’s Square, Shanghai’s rambling garden hub, home to the Shanghai Museum – and plenty of shopping malls.
HUAIHAI ROAD
When only the finest will do, it’s time to hit Huaihai Road, which cuts through Shanghai’s iconic Former French Concession at its heart. Huaihai has much of the excitement of Nanjing, but with shops of a seriously more high-end nature. This is big-spender territory, though you don’t have to be dropping a load yourself to wander this romantic, European-inflected shopping strip. In the eastern section of leafy Middle Huaihai Road, the section that runs through the FCC, you’ll find Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Tiffany, among others; whereas elsewhere on the road you’ll encounter shopping malls such as Shanghai Times Square, and K11, a skyscraper mall where the architecture is grand, fine art is a major focus (there’s even an in-house gallery) and western brands such as Burberry and Pret a Manger abound. Even if you wouldn’t consider yourself a shopaholic, it’s definitely worth taking a couple of hours to stroll around – after all, this is prime walking and sightseeing territory, and as well as shops you can check out the consulate generals of the US, France and Japan, not to mention the new Shanghai Library and some mega, envy-inducing garden villas. After all, it’s not for nothing that they call Huaihai the Champs-Élysée of the Orient.

MORE LOCAL FAVOURITES…

1. Westgate Mall: Home to a spa and luxury brands
2. Plaza 66: You’ll find Bulgari, Fendi and Chanel here
3. New World City Mall: Covers nearly 20 million square metres
4. Parkson Shopping Centre: Erected in the 90s, a go-to for Shanghainese
5. Grand Gateway: You’ll snatch a bargain, or two, here